Sunday, November 3, 2019

Interview with Wes Jaques of Metal Coffee by Dave Wolff

Interview with Wes Jaques of Metal Coffee PR

How long have you run your company Metal Coffee PR and what inspired you to start?
I started the PR side of things in 2017. After fifteen years of doing radio and podcasts. I was inspired by how badly bands were getting raped by PR companies. When I saw how much they charge bands I thought, hell I can do ALL of that for way less. As a matter of fact, I can do it for $1, about the cost of a cup of coffee.

Were you mostly hosting radio programs on the internet during that fifteen-year period? Which radio and podcast shows were you involved in, and which format did you prefer?
I was involved with several Internet stations including two I started on Live 365. The first was called Rapture Radio and then The Static Mass. I also did the very first version of Metal Observer Radio in podcast form, I think back in 2004. My very first live show was called FC in The UK. This was followed by Dirt Talk which I did with my good friend of many years Ray Herndon a.k.a. Black Metal Ray. It lasted for about two years and was a great show. I am sure it’s still out there on the net somewhere.

What made you interested in doing radio and podcast shows to begin with? Were you inspired by any deejays in particular or just generally interested in the field?
In my home growing up, we were not allowed to listen to the radio or watch TV or talk on the phone, so for my first ten years of life music and media were very rare. When my mother divorced my dad I discovered music and just lost my mind. I loved music and in my teens, I discovered Paul Harvey and Larry King and I loved the magic of radio so I decided I wanted to be on the radio. Point A to Point B. After I tried to be a rock star and found out quickly was not going to be successful it reignited my desire to be on the radio. Years later in my 30's, I went to college for broadcasting.

What college did you attend for broadcasting? What classes did you take there and how valuable would you say your education was?
I went to the American Broadcasting School for Broadcasting and Journalism. It was a two-year course. I knew everything prior to taking the course; to be honest, I just wanted to prove to myself I could pull it off in school. I would do it again.

What equipment were you using when you began hosting podcasts and how aggressively were you promoting your shows?
Wow man, when I first started I used cool edit pro and a head mic and the sound was awful. I did it that way the best I could for a long time, then by 2015, I had an eight-channel board Adobie Audition and a beautiful thousand dollar micro-phone. I sounded like Glen Beck; the music and talking were first class.

How did you and Ray Herndon meet and what made you decide you and he could collaborate on projects? Are you still in touch with him after Dirt Talk?
Ray and I are still on friendly terms I think I have not seen him in years. Our entire friendship was based on music and we have known each other since my teen years he used to mail me about music when he served in the navy and he used to pick me up before I could drive and we would jam tapes thorough a ghetto blaster in his car. Ray introduced me to a lot of heavier music.

Were there mostly interviews on the show or was music featured? What were the differences between your usual podcasts and the live shows you hosted?
I have to say my style at the time was more shock jock so I was just way over the edge and Ray was the calmer more subtle host live or podcast Ray had class I was an idiot. As far as bands featured, back then my focus was not as much on indie bands so we played mainly big label bands partly because I was still getting promos from the big labels because of my work at The Metal Observer

How long and on which websites were you doing Rapture Radio and Static Mass? Are installments still available for streaming? Is Metal Observer Radio still active?
It’s been a long time, but I think I did Rapture and Static Mass for a few months apiece. As far as I know, neither exist in any form today. I’m not sure what is going on with TMO last I heard they moved from Germany to Canada.

Did you support any specific genres on Rapture Radio and Static Mass, or were you flexible and willing to support several?
Static Mass and Rapture did not have any specific target really just metal of all kinds things you could not hear on big rock radio they were meant to be an alternative to local radio

How valuable would you say your experience as a radio host and podcaster was?
Radio is the last magic left in audio, though podcasting has really taken the lead in something to listen to and learn and enjoy listening to. People used to sit and listen to the radio and it meant something. I have always loved radio because of the people I met and gained trust with.

How often would you see public relations companies exploiting bands before you started Metal Coffee? How did you offer bands better treatment?
It only took me about three examples of bands telling me they were paying thousands before I said hold on a damn minute here?! I can REALLY help bands with more than just airplay on my podcast. I can take this to a whole new level and really piss on the system! There was no one I particular. It was a broad scope of bands getting their asses kicked by crooks so I stepped in to solve the problem.

Who were the first bands you started promoting after you founded Metal Coffee? How much publicity did you help them receive after they met you?
The band Pokerface from Russia and the label Black Lion Records were my first two clients. Then I had NoSlip Records and Non Serviam Records. I don’t remember after that, but I have had several bands including Dirty Rats, Blood Of Angels, Doghouse Swine and Scanner.

You run a blog and podcast to promote Metal Coffee. Tell the readers about how those got started and what they can find there?
I run Metal Coffee which is what is left of Metal Moose podcast. I run The Grinder blog that has over 1000 interviews. The podcast is on almost every digital platform and is an awesome place to find new metal. We have been playing unsigned and indie bands since 2014. All episodes are still up and running. We were the first to play a lot of bands who are breaking big now. There are 4000 bands and counting. The Grinder is so underrated. It’s full of amazing info and not enough people know about it. I work hard on it and it is a killer blog!

Do you have an approach to interviewing that’s different from that of other bloggers? What topics do you most often discuss with the bands you interview?
I hate giving interviewees the same questions. If you send an honest interview you get a reply telling you what they want to talk about. I have an interview most bands refuse to do because they know the answers will have consequences. People are afraid of speech. If they just knew if you control the speech you have the power. People are afraid to speak the truth any longer because of social correctness we are not allowed to disagree with anyone. Some of my questions require an opinion and most bands refuse to do so because they are scared.

How many listeners does Metal Coffee reach every podcast? Who are some of the bands becoming well known in the world of extreme music since they aired?
I am not sure how many stations carry the show any longer. I stopped counting because it just didn’t matter any longer. I had a hundred stations around the world at one point carrying the show; I do know that. And to be honest I have learned over and over again nobody cares. I could have been on a million stations. I still had to send emails to get music, I still had to run the blog, and I still had to make the show nobody cared or wanted to help so I eventually stopped counting. As for bands that have made it since they have been on my show: I have Ashes, New Romantic Rebel, City of the Weak, Illusions of Grandeur, Hate, jeesh the list goes on.

Metal Coffee’s Facebook group currently has more than 1500 members. Have you recently met any bands or labels who are interested in working with you through that group?
I meet the majority of the bands I work with on social media. I have several Facebook groups I think with around 30,000 follow-ers. I really had to spread it around since Facebook has handcuffed small businesses. I'm everywhere not by choice but by necessity.

How many Facebook groups are you hosting? Will you be expanding on this in the future?
The page for Metal Coffee Bands as well as the podcast page are really the ones I pay attention to. I probably have a hundred messages on the other pages I have never seen. As far as expanding goes it really depends on how much longer doing this keeps me interested. I tire with things easily especially if it is not a challenge. Fortunately, I have enough enemies to keep this a challenge for a long time.

How long has your blog The Grinder been active, and what bands and musicians have you recently interviewed? Why are there separate columns for guitarists, bassists, and drummers?
I think I started the Grinder in 2018 when I started Metal Coffee, As far who I’ve interviewed lately today I put Dutch Metal band Martyr up also did an interview with Craig from Silver Tongue Devil and I think I have three more today to put up. To be honest I hate interviews. It’s all cookie-cutter nonsense in my opinion so to keep interested I wanted to do interviews about things that interested me like guitars, drums, bass, reading bands describing themselves, etc. Now I will say this: If bands would actually answer real questions about real things it would be interesting to actually learn about the person but god forbid if it’s not all about their music.

How many bands do you currently air on Metal Coffee’s podcast? What do bands need to do to be included?
Because I have been doing the podcast since 2014 I still receive a boatload of promo from labels so the music on the podcast comes from them as well as all of the bands who still send in music for the show to be played. Bands just need to send in music to to be in the podcast it is now and always will be free.

You offer bands a service to distribute their songs or singles to major publications. Which online and print zines are you distributing to and how many bands are responding?
I have been fortunate to keep an average of fifty bands on my roster since starting, so I have been lucky in that regard. I have had enough to keep me busy though I work hard I would love to do this full time one day. As for what publications respond, we have had bands covered in Revolver, Decibel, Bravewords and Bloody Knuckles, Metal Sucks, Pure Grain Audio, Kerrang and more. I am ALWAYS hoping for more!

Did the thought of putting on a metal festival ever cross your mind? Being that you’re in contact with all the bands you’re in contact with, how many of them would get involved?
I have actually held nine Moosefests in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and I really enjoyed it. However, I have too much of a conscience to do live shows because I want to pay everyone and sometimes that is not possible; I lose money every time. I also am not the greatest at the live end of things. I am great at giving advice teaching bands but putting together a fest and getting sponsors lined up, sound, venue… it’s just not my field. I am a background guy.

How successful were the Moosefests you have held to date? How much did paying the bands who appeared set you back?
I think it depends on what you call success. Most of the time we had good crowds so in that way they were a success. But as far as meeting the goal it really was a failure. Moosefest and everything I am involved in is about breaking down the walls. We never achieved any success in winning fans away from big rock radio or big crook promoters. The money still runs the market and if it can’t make their money they just aren’t interested. I did my work for free for the bands and it did not matter.

In terms of running fests (and internet radio) independently, self-promoting and supporting unsigned bands, how would you rate the Moosefests and other festivals you attended? After all, without the indie labels and fests, there would be no underground.
Moosefest was small scale, just a multi-band concert with eight bands. I consider Wacken a festival like Milwaukee Metalfest or Ozzfest and I have been to all of them. I have had the opportunity to see some amazing bands. I do enjoy a great concert or festival but as far as organizing them I would rather leave that to the experts. As for bands giving me ad-vice people are always telling me how I could do concerts but it’s just not in my interest.

How much do you expect to expand Metal Coffee PR in the next year or so, as far as supporting bands and spreading word to radio stations and magazines? Do you want to become better known outside the US?
Each year I learn more. My contact list, my clients and the people I work for grows. It is my goal to double my business from the year before. 2018 was my first year of PR. There’s no way I’m going to double it in 2019 but I have grown so much! The foundation to grow is built for a great future!
I think I am well known outside the US working with Sliptrick Records and Downfall Records which are both based outside the US, and working with bands from Finland, UK, Sweden, Russia, Ireland and more I work with people from Europe a lot. And of course, I am interested in working with all of the press outlets I can.

-Dave Wolff

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